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About John Tayler
John Tayler was born in New York City in 1742. He was the son of William and Nancy Condit Tayler. Tayler left New York in his late teens to trade supplies at British forts on the northern frontier. Using Albany as a base, he serviced Oswego, Fort William Henry, outposts along Lake Champlain, and also on the Mohawk River. A grandson noted he could speak "Indian Tongue" and that he kept a store on Lake George.
In 1764, Tayler married Margarita Van Valkenburgh, the daughter of an Albany carpenter. Their marriage produced no children. Instead, they adopted Margaret Vernor, the infant daughter of Margarita's sister, the late Eva Van Valkenburgh Vernor.
These Taylers settled on a farm at Stillwater. He grew hemp and flax, kept cattle, and began a lumber business. Tayler's farm produced smoked meats, rope, and potash. The farm prospered and enabled him to stock his store at Ballston (Ballston Spa) and his other enterprises as well. He also offered more exclusive items obtained from merchants in London, New York City, and Philadelphia.
In 1777, the threat of British attack forced Tayler to abandon his farm and move his family to safety in Albany where he was known as a storekeeper as early as July 1776. The Battles of Saratoga occurred near his farm. The British used the Tayler house as headquarters. He never returned to Saratoga and the war thrust him into the public service. He represented first Saratoga and then Albany on the county Committee of Safety and on the Committee for Detecting and Defeating Conspiracies - where he worked to identify and suppress loyalists. Tayler further supported the war by using his farm and businesses to supply meat for the Continental army. General Philip Schuyler appointed him Clothier General of the Northern army in 1776.
By 1779, John Tayler had become an Albany mainstay with his third ward property prominently configured on city assessment rolls. By 1790, he had relocated to the south side of State Street where he lived until his death.
In 1776, he represented Albany County in the Third and Fourth Provincial Congresses. He was elected to the first New York State Assembly in 1777 and served through 1781. In 1802, he was elected to the State Senate and served until 1813. He was an Antifederalist and a political ally of Governor George Clinton.
Following the war, he was involved in diplomatic negotiations with the Iroquois. He served on a number of boards and was active in many public enterprises. He was a member and officer of St. Peter's Church. He also acquired extensive real estate in Albany and beyond.
Margaret Tayler died in 1796. Their adopted daughter, Peggy, and her husband Dr. Charles De Kay Cooper and their family, now became his kinship network.
Although into his fifties, Tayler's political career was on the rise. In 1793, he was appointed city Recorder (deputy Mayor) and in 1797, he was appointed justice of the Court of Common Pleas. During much of that time, he retained his seat in the New York State Senate - serving as president of the Senate in 1811.
Tayler was elected lieutenant governor under Daniel D. Tompkins in 1813 and served until 1817 when he was elected to the same office under De Witt Clinton. He served until 1822. In 1817, he was acting governor for four months when Tompkins resigned to become vice president.
John Tayler died at home at 50 State Street in March 1829. His will left extensive property and money to his daughter Peggy and her family. He also made cash bequests to his extended family and to the children of his political allies.
John Tayler (July 4, 1742 – March 19, 1829) was a merchant and politician. He served nine years as Lieutenant Governor of New York, four months as Acting Governor of New York, and also in both houses of the New York State Legislature.
He was a trader, farmer and shopkeeper in Albany. He married Margarita Van Valkenburgh in 1764.
Tayler was a Patriot during the Revolutionary War. He was drawn into public service for the Colonies.
He was a member from Albany County in the New York State Assembly from 1777 to 1779, in 1780-81, and from 1785 to 1787. He was appointed City Recorder (Deputy Mayor) of Albany in 1793, and First Judge of the Albany County Court in 1797. In 1798, he ran for U.S. Senator from New York, but was defeated by Federalist James Watson. He served in the New York State Senate from 1804 to 1813. On January 29, 1811, he was elected President pro tempore of the State Senate and was Acting Lieutenant Governor, Lt. Gov. John Broome having died in August 1810. He served until the end of June 1811 when he was succeeded by DeWitt Clinton who had been elected Lt. Gov. in a special election under the provisions of Article XX of the New York State Constitution of 1777.
Tayler was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1813, and re-elected in 1816, on the ticket with Daniel D. Tompkins. After Tompkins' resignation to assume the office of Vice President of the United States, Tayler served as Acting Governor from February 24 to June 30, 1817.
Article XVII of the New York State Constitution of 1777 states "...as often as the seat of government shall become vacant, a wise and descreet freeholder of this State shall be, by ballot, elected governor,...,which elections shall be always held at the times and places of choosing representatives in assembly..." This meant that, whenever a vacancy occurred, the Lt. Gov. did not succeed to the governor's office but administrated the state only until the end of the yearly term of the New York State Assembly on June 30, the successor being elected in April. This was the only occurrence of a vacancy of the governor's office under this Constitution, and in April 1817 DeWitt Clinton was elected Governor. Tayler was re-elected Lt. Gov., and re-elected in 1820.
The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804 is linked to comments spoken by Hamilton at Tayler's home in Albany, which were related in a letter written by Tayler's son-in-law, Dr. Charles D. Cooper, which was later published in an Albany newspaper.
Tayler died on March 19, 1829 in Albany, New York. He was buried in Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York.